Russian I Tutorial

written by Stephen VanZuylen & mp3s recorded by Marina

Please note: this tutorial is intended as a primer and quick reference, not the final word on the subject; I am not a native speaker, and many areas are glossed over or simplified in the interest of brevity. My thanks to those who looked over the original version to correct my mistakes. Any remaining mistakes are, of course, my own. Finally, this page is formatted in UTF-8 and is best viewed at 1024x768 resolution; different codings and resolutions and can lead to viewing problems, particularly with the ample Cyrillic text and table-breaking.

Russian Tutors


1. Basic Phrases

Yes
Да
dah
No
Нет
nyet
Maybe
Мо́жет быть
moh-zhit bit'



Hello (Formal Usage)
Здра́вствуйте
zdrav-stvoo-tye
Hi (Informal Usage)
Приве́т
preev-yet
Good Day, Hello
До́брый День
doh-bry dzyen'



Good Evening
До́брый ве́чер
doh-bry vyecher
Good Night
Споко́йной но́чи
spah-koy-noy noh-tchi
Good Bye (General use/more formal)
До свида́ния
duh-svee-dah-nya



See You (informal)
Пока́
pah-kah
See you tomorrow
До за́втра
dah zav-trah
Please/You're Welcome
Пожа́луйста
pah-zhahl-stah



Thank You
Спаси́бо
spah-see-bah
Sorry
Прости́те
prah-stee-tye
Welcome
Добро́ пожа́ловать
dah-broh poh-zhahl-oh-vat'



How are you doing?
Как дела́?
kahk dze-la?
(Not) bad
(Не)пло́хо
(neh)ploh-khah
As always
Как всегда́
Kahk vseg-dah



Excellent
Хорошо́
Khah-rah-sho
Pleased to meet you (lit. "it is very pleasant")
О́чень прия́тно
oh-chen' pree-yaht-nah
How old are you?
Ско́лько вам лет?
Skohl-kuh vahm l-yet



I'm x years old
Мне __ лет
m-nyeh __  l-yet
Excuse me...
Извини́те
eez-vee-nee-tye
Do you speak English?
Вы зна́ете англи́йский?
vi znah-yeh-tye an-glee-skee



What languages do you know?
Kаки́е языки́ вы зна́ете?
kahk-ee-ye yah-zik-ee vi znah-ye-tye?
How do you say x in Russian?
Как по-ру́сски...?
Kahk pah-roos-kee
I don't understand
Я (не) понима́ю
yah (nyeh-) poh-nee-mah-yoo



I (don't) know
Я (не) зна́ю
yah (neh-) znah-yoo
Where are you from?
Отку́да вы?
aht-koo-dah vi?
What is your name?
Как вас зову́т?
kahk vas zah-voot



My name is...
Меня́ зову́т
meen-yah zah-voot...
What time is it?
Cко́лько вре́мени?
skohl-kuh vreh-meh-nee?
How much does it cost?
Ско́лько сто́ит?
skohl-kuh stoy-it



Do you know where x is?
Вы зна́ете где...?
vi znah-yeh-tye g-dze
Do you want...?
Ты хо́чешь?
Ti kho-tchesh
Is that everything?
Э́то всё?
eh-ta f-syoh?



No, that isn't necessary
Нет, не на́до
nyet, ni nah-duh
Help me!
Помоги́те!
pah-mah-gee-tyeh
Bless you! (after cough or sneeze)
Бу́дьте здоро́вы!
Boodz-tye z-dah-roh-vi



Could you repeat that?
Повтори́те! (пожа́луйста)
Pav-toh-ree-tye! (pah-zhahl-stah)





Bold syllables indicate stress in the English pronunciation. The accute accent mark shows the stress in the Russian word.


2. Pronunciation & Alphabet

The Russian Alphabet, known as Cyrillic or Кири́ллица (Ki-reel-lee-tsa) has 33 letters; 21 consonants, 10 vowels and two signs. The letters are: А Б В Г Д Е Ё Ж З И Й К Л М Н О П Р С Т У Ф Х Ц Ч Ш Щ ъ ы ь Э Ю and Я. In order to make this explanation easier, the letters are broken down into specific groups. While many who are unfamiliar with the alphabet dismiss it as being too hard, the alphabet is deceptively simple, as the phonetic principle is very prominent, and successive reforms have removed excess letters and greatly simplified the spelling system.

Consonants
Б б
В в
Г г
Д д
Ж ж
З з
Й й
К к
Л л
М м
Н н
П п
Р р
С с
Т т
Ф ф
Х х
Ц ц
Ч ч
Ш ш
Щ щ
Бэ -- Beh
Вэ -- Veh
Гэ -- Geh
Дэ -- Deh
Жэ -- Zheh
Зэ-- Zeh
И краткое-- i kratkoye
Ка-- Kah
Эл-- El
Эм-- Em
Эн -- En
Пэ-- Peh
Эрр -- Err
Эс -- Es
Тэ -- Teh
Эф -- Ef
Ха -- Khah
Цэ -- Tseh
Че -- Cheh
Шэ -- Shah
Ща -- Shchah
Best
Vent
Gift
Deep
Pleasure
Zebra
York
King
Lion
Mend
Next
Pet
trilled r
Sink
Tape
Find
Kh, like German machen
Boots
Chair
Ship
See note*
*I have heard two ways of pronouncing the letter щ, which I will assume to be regional variances. The first is to begin with a ш sound with a ч made just after without pause. (The example "fresh cheese" is most common.) The second is to make a "sh" sound, but push your jaw slightly forward and tighten the corners of your lips into a kind of semi-smile.


In addition to the above consonants, there are certain variations in the sound made for most consonants, referred to most often as "soft" consonants. Rather than add new letters to represent these sounds, the Russian Alphabet shows them in one of two ways: either through a softening vowel, or should there be no vowel, a soft sign, used below. An explanation of how to pronounce these individually are below as well. The signs have additional uses, explained later.

Soft Consonants
Бь -Like Пь, but voiced
Вь -Push your lower lip upwards so the inside touches the lower front portion of your front teeth
Дь - Use the frontal portion of your tongue rather than just the tip to make a sound similar to "dz" or the d in the French "jeudi."
Жж -This is, in theory, a voiced version of Щ, but is rarely spoken as anything other than ж, and is marked by жж, not жь, for reasons explained later.
Зь -Push your lower jaw forward a little, and/or press the first centimeter or so of  your tongue just behind your front teeth.
Ль -Use the whole front portion of your tongue to make an l sound like that in French or German.
Нь -Press the front of your tongue against the top of your mouth, just behind the front teeth; sounds like Spanish ñ.
Пь -Like the p in "computer"
Рь -Similar to a regular Р, but with more aspiration.
Сь -This is a devoiced version of the soft З.
Ть -Sounds a bit like ц but with the front of the tongue on the roof of the mouth. The t in the French "tu" makes the same sound.
Фь -Like Вь, but devoiced.


"Soft" Vowels
Е е
Ё ё
И и
Ю ю
Я я
Yeh
 Yoh
Ee
Yu
Yah
Yes
Yodel
Feet
Youth
Yacht
Ё is always stressed

"Hard" Vowels
Э э
О о
ы
У у
А а
Eh
  Oh
Еры*
  Ooh
  Ah
Enter
Note

Boot
Swan
*This is difficult to pronounce until you hear it, a sort of mix between the u in "under," the i in "if," and the ee in "feet;" until you have heard it a few times, pronounce it like the i in "if."
(If you know Romanian, ы is the same sound as î, and if you know Polish, it is the same sound as y. A similar vowel is found in the Turkish l, but ы is made further forward in the mouth.)

Pronunciation With Й
ай
ей/эй
ой
уй
Wide
Bay
Boy
Hooey

While most Cyrillic typefaces' letter forms may look only slightly different than the one used on this page, the letter forms of handwritten Russian are decidedly different, and can be easily comfused to those unfamiliar with them. My own handwriting being as terrible as it is, I would recommend downloading OdessaScript to get an idea of what the letter forms should look like, and Pushkin for a more stylized and "realistic" example. The key to learning the written script is practice; start by mimicking the OdessaScript letters individually, copying them out 20-30 times in a row before moving onto the next one. Then move on to words of 3-5 letters, and finally onto longer words. Copying out poems, newspaper articles and other short texts can be the final step, and aid greatly in keeping your skills up to par.

3. Further Notes on Pronunciation

The "Signs"
The ь, or мя́гкий знак ("soft sign,") as noted before, denotes a soft consonant when there is no vowel present to perform that function. However, when placed in front of a soft vowel, it not only shows a soft consonant, indicates a more strongly pronounced y (as in yoke) sound in the vowel following.

    The ъ, or твёрдый знак ("hard sign,")  fulfills the same latter function of the soft sign, but also indicates that the preceding consonant is hard, despite the soft vowel following it. This is, however, a rarely used letter and is seen mostly in verb prefixes, as in Съездить, Отъездить and the like, and can also be marked with a single quotation, but this is rarely used nowadays.

Stress

Whenever you learn a new word, be sure to remember the stress patterns, as unlike Polish, Czech, and some other Slavic languages, syllable stress in Russian is free, unpredictable, and sometimes mobile; two-syllable neuter words, for instance, almost always change stress in the plural. For a graphic example of the importance of stress, the verb писа́ть (stressed on a) which means "to write," can have its meaning suddenly and easily changed to пи́сать, (stress on и) which means "to piss," so be careful!

Vowel Reduction
    As with any language, there are certain differences in vowel pronounciation to be heard in different areas of Russia. Many of the boundaries of these differences remain a subject of debate, but below are the common changes in vowel pronunciation commonly heard in and around the Moscow region, and is thus considered the "standard" form of Russian.

--The O rule: an unstressed o, before the point of stress, is pronounced like an a, and after the point of stress, makes an "uh" sound, a schwa in linguistic terms.
--The И Rule: an unstressed и before the point of stress is pronounced like the i in if, whereas a finial и is pronounced normally.
--The E rule: at the beginning of a word, e is always pronounced as "ye," regardless of stress. An unstressed e, unless preceded by a vowel is pronounced  like a "schwa", though any preceding consonant is still softened.

    In virtually all spoken forms, all final consonants are devoiced.

4. Spelling & Combination Rules

There are three main spelling rules that you have to know in Russian; they are fairly simple and easy to remember, so don't forget them!


The 7-Letter Rule
After Ш, Щ, Ж, Ч, Г, Х, & К, write И instead of Ы
 
The 5-Letter Rule
After Ш, Щ, Ж, Ч, Ц, write O if it’s stressed; write E if unstressed

The Hush Rule
After Ш, Щ, Ж, Ч, don’t write Я or Ю; use А or У instead

Note that the letters Щ, and Ч are always soft, and Ж, Ш, and Ц are always considered hard; this means that after the former two, a is always pronounced as я, у is always pronounced like ю, and so on, while after the latter three, и sounds like ы, е and sounds like э.

Rules of Combination

    Once you start changing words as required by inflection (nouns, adjectives, pronouns) or conjugation (verbs) you not only have to apply the three rules above, but also the rules of vowel combination. Don't worry though; once you understand hard and soft consonants and the vowels/signs that reflect them, this makes absolute sense.

Rule # 1: After й or ь, of there is a hard vowel, the two "blend" to form the soft variant

This table shows it how it works:
When this...
Meets this...
You get...
And this...
plus this...
equals this...
й
а
я
ь
а
я
й
э/е
е
ь
э/е
е
й
у
ю
ь
у
ю
й
о
е
ь
о
е
й
о
ё
ь
о
ё
й
ы
и
ь
ы
и
One little thing: й or ь plus o always makes e unless it is stressed; only then does it become ё

To illustrate this, I will use the adjective Си́ний (Dark Blue) Notice the soft H.

Say I want to make the feminine-nominative form:
Take Си́ний, and add the proper adjective ending, -ая. Thus we get Синь+ая  or Синьая. However, ь+а=я, so we get Си́няя

Or say I want the neuter-genitive:
Take Си́ний and the proper ending, ого. Thus we get Синього. However ь+о when unstressed as here =е, so we get Си́него

Rule # 2: After й or ь, if there is a soft vowel, the former is removed and the latter left on its own.
Take for instance часть. Want the plural? Add -и, and you get частьи, but the soft sign gets absorbed, so we end up with части

Keep in mind, however, that if there is a soft sign in front of a soft vowel already in the singular-nominative form, leave it alone, as it performs a phonetic, rather than grammatical, function. For instance: The singular-nominative Семья (family) becomes Семьи in the plural; the soft sign was in front of the vowel already and so it stays there.

If you need some more help with this, I would suggest checking out this page.

5. The Fleeting Vowel

Every once in a while you'll notice how sometimes words gain or lose a penultimate e or o outside of regular declension or conjugation. For instance, if I wanted the genitive plural of the word "Письмо" (letter,) the standard is to remove the finial o, leaving us with "письм." However, the actual form in the genitive plural is "писем." Where did that e come from? The e is actually an unstressed, softened o; the o is added based on an alternating paradigm left over from ancient Russian. However in this case, because of the soft sign, and because the stress is on the first syllable and not the new letter, we end up with an e.

    One little trick is usually right: if you get an awkward consonant cluster, say the word out loud; if you find yourself adding an "uh" sound, chances are, an o is needed, so add it in and go through the spelling rules checklist and the word should now be spelled correctly, though one common exception is words that end in -ство; the genitive plural is -ств. Also, sometimes it is an e, even when there is no soft sign present. For those a little more confident or curious, you can apply the alternation rule, which is best explained here.

    These "fleeting vowels" also disappear in declension. Take for instance отец (father,) in the genitive singular: отца; the dative singular: отцу; and the genitive plural: отцов.  Normally when a word ends with an e or o plus consonant, the e/o is dropped and the new ending placed after the consonant. These seem unpredictable at first, but with patience, they are not a problem.


6. Nouns and Gender

    Russian nouns belong to one of three genders: Masculine, (мужской род) Feminine (женской род) and Neuter (средний род). Unlike German and some of the Romance languages, the gender of a noun can be easily assessed, simply by looking at the ending in the nominative case.

Masculine nouns end in consonants or й
Feminine nouns end in -а, -я, or -ия
Neuter nouns end in -е, -о, or -ие

There are a few exceptions to this rule, but they are easy to spot:

-There are a few masculine nouns that end in a; these are usually associated exclusvely with males, such as мужчи́на (man,) дя́дя (uncle,) де́душка (grandfather,) and the like, or "familiar" forms of masculine names, like Воло́дя, Бо́ря, and so on. These nouns have one attribute that is easy to remember: they decline like feminine nouns, but any demonstratives, adjectives and the like decline like masculine nouns.

-There are 10 words which are neuter, yet end in -я. These have their own unique declension class, which is shown below, and all demonstratives, adjectives and the like use the standard neuter endings. The words are: бре́мя (burden,) вре́мя (time,) вы́мя (udder,) зна́мя (banner,) и́мя (given name,) пла́мя (flame,) пле́мя (tribe,) се́мя (seed,) стре́мя (stirrup) and те́мя (crown.)

-Neuter nouns ending in -о or -и that are direct imports from foreign languages, such as кафе́, кино́, or такси́ do not decline at all, regardless of what case they ought ot be in, however any adjectives or demonstratives tied to them do.

-And finally, there are a number of nouns, which end in -ь and can be either masculine or feminine. There are generally few ways to predict this, however, if a noun ends in -сть, such as кре́пость (fortress,) or it ends in a hush-plus-soft-sign, (-шь, -щь, -жь, -чь) it is feminine. Masculine nouns with a -ь ending decline like those ending with й. The feminine ones have their own declension class, detailed below.


7. Personal Pronouns

Personal Pronouns
Case
I/Me
You
(singular/ informal)
He/It
She
We
You
(plural/ formal)
They
Nominative
Я
Ты
Он/Оно́
Она́
Мы
Вы
Они́
Accusative
Меня́
Тебя́
Его́
Её
Нас
Вас
Их
Dative
Мне
Тебе́
Ему́
Ей
Нам
Вам
Им
Genitive
Меня́
Тебя́
Его́
Её
Нас
Вас
Их
Prepositional
Мне
Тебе́
Нём
Ней
Нас
Вас
Них
Instrumental
Мной
Тобо́й
Им
Ей
На́ми
Ва́ми
И́ми

Note that when preceded by a preposition, those pronouns beginning with a vowel take an H- on the beginning.


8. Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstrative Pronouns

This/These   That/Those
Case
Masc.
Fem.
Neut.
Pl.
  Masc.
Fem.
Neut.
Pl.
Nominative Э́тот
Э́та
Э́то
Э́ти
  Тот
Та
То
Те
Accusative Э́тот/Э́того
Э́ту
Э́то
Э́ти/Э́тих
  Тотого
Ту
То
Теех
Dative Э́тому
Э́той
Э́тому
Э́тим
  Тому́
Той
Тому́
Тем
Genitive Э́того
Э́той
Э́того
Э́тих
  Того́
Той
Того́
Тех
Prepositional Э́том
Э́той
Э́том
Э́тих
  Том
Той
Том
Тех
Instrumental Э́тим
Э́той
Э́тим
Э́тими
  Тем
Той
Тем
Те́ми

    Notes on Э́то: Not only is this word the neuter-nominative, it is also used in the predicative sense; that means if you want to say "this is" or "is this," you simply write это. (See section 36 for more on this.) Also, you may have noticed that there are no articles (a, an, the) in Russian, a fact that can make direct translations sound strange at times; if you wish to indicate that you are speaking about a specific thing, you can use the э́тот, тот, or оди́н.


9. Possessive Pronouns

Possessive Pronoun Мой My/Mine
Case
Masc.
Fem.
Neut.
Pl.
Nominative Мой
Моя́
Моё
Мои́
Accusative Мой/Моего́
Мою́
Моё
Мои́/Мои́х
Dative Моему́
Мое́й
Моему́ Мои́м
Genitive Моего́
Мое́й Моего́ Мои́х
Prepositional Моём
Мое́й Моём Мои́х
Instrumental Мои́м
Мое́й Мои́м Мои́ми
Pronouns that decline like this one: Твой (your/yours informal)

Note that the possessive pronouns его́ (his,) её (her,) их (their) do not decline.

 

Possessive Pronoun Наш Our/Ours
Case Masc. Fem. Neut. Pl.
Nominative Наш На́ша На́ше На́ши
Accusative На́шего На́шу На́ше На́ших
Dative На́шему На́шей На́шему На́шим
Genitive На́шего На́шей На́шего На́ших
Prepositional На́шем На́шей На́шем На́ших
Instrumental На́шим На́шей На́шим На́шими
Pronouns that decline like this one: Ваш- (your/yours formal, plural)

 


10. The Pronoun О́бе/О́ба (Both)

    In Russian, there are two ways of sayng "both" as we would know the word. Here, it is used as a semi-adjective and often with nouns, such as "both children" or "both players" and so on. If you wish to use the word both in the sense of "both x and y," you must use the conjunction и...и, discussed in section 29.
Case Masc./Neut.
Fem
Nominative
óба
óбе

Accusative
óба (inanimate) / обо́их (animate)
óбе (inanimate) / oбе́их (animate)
Dative

обо́им

oбе́ихм

Genitive

обо́их

oбе́их
Prepositional

обо́их

oбе́их
Instrumental

обо́ими

oбе́ими


11. The Case System: Introduction to Inflection

    To those who have studied languages such as German, Greek, Latin or another Slavic Language, you are already familiar with the concepts of inflection and can likely skip this introduction, but if you haven't, it helps to receive a quick introduction.

    To give a dictionary style answer, inflection is the process where a word is changed (declined) relative to its role as a part of speech in a sentence. Thus in Russian, nouns and other declining words have different forms depending on whether they are the subject, direct object, indirect object, or possessor. English has lost most of its ancient inflection system, but there are a few remnants to build off of. Let's start with a common, and often ignored, mistake in English: "Me and my friend went to a movie." We are often told that this is properly written as "My friend and I went to a movie," but rarely told why. The answer is that the pronoun I is in the subjective (or nomnative) form, or case, while me is in the objective (accusative/dative) case; that is, marking the subject and object (direct or indirect) respectively. "Me," thus, cannot be used as the subject of a sentence! Here is a quick summary of the personal pronouns in English:

Subjective
I
You
He
She
We
They
Objective
Me
You
Him
Her
Us
Them

If a pronoun is the subject, it must be in the subjective case, and when it is an object, it must be in the objective case; sounds simple enough. Unfortunately, English does not have separate pronouns to disambiguate the direct and indirect objects, thus relying on prepositions and word order to do the job instead. The direct and indirect objects can be written one of two ways:
-"He gave her it."
-"He have it to her."
(The direct object is bold, the indirect is italic)

In Russian, the word break-down for the same sentence would look like this:
Он - "he;" subject; nominative case
Дал - "to give" past tense, masculine
Его́ - "it;" direct object; accusative case
Ей - "her;" indirect object; dative case

It would then be written as "Он дал его́ ей" or any combination of those words, so long as they remain in their proper case.

    If you are translating from Russian, the subject and objects are easy to see, as the case is evident, but when trying to translate into Russian, it is often difficult at first due to the ambiguities of English grammar. Until you are familiar with these concepts enough to feel confident, it helps to use this methodology: when you come across a sentence, the first thing you should look at is the verb, which is key to finding the subject/object. Let's say the verb is "to take." Ask yourself the following questions:

--For the Subject: "Who or what did or is doing the taking?"
--For the Direct Object: "Who or what was/is being taken?"
--For the Indirect Object: "To whom or to what was the direct object taken?"

    Keep these questions in mind as you practice and learn and adapt them to the specific verb and subject/objects you are using at the time and you should not have too many problems.

   However, as you have seen form the tables just above this section, Russian has cases for more than just subjects and objects, for a total of six, and unlike English, not only pronouns, but also nouns and adjectives all change by case. The concept of case usage can be overwhelming if you are unfamiliar with the idea, so it helps to learn just one or two at the most at one time, and only moving on when you are comfortable in your knowledge, as learning all of them in one stretch can complicate matters greatly. Also, keep this in mind: if you were never taught these grammatical concepts before, it will take a little extra effort to fully comprehend it all, but there is a plethora of additional resources, both on-line and in print to help you understand, all of which are usually easy to find, so it is far from impossible; this site's webmaster's English grammar overview can help in this regard.

    In this tutorial, each of the six cases used in Russian is given an individual treatment with nouns of all genders, as they are more complicated than pronouns. For the examples, I have used the same series of words to show the patterns in inflection. They are: телеви́зор (television), музе́й (museum), коро́ль (king), маши́на (car), земля́ (land, earth), фами́лия (surname), ми́лость (kindness), о́зеро (lake), пла́тье (dress), мне́ние (opinion), and вре́мя (time).


12. The Nominative Case (Имени́тельный Паде́ж)

    This case is used to indicate the subject of the sentence, as well as in comparisons following чем, and a few other instances, discussed later. If you look up a word in the dictionary, it is always in the nominative case unless stated otherwise.

Forming the plural:

Masc. (consonant)
Masc -й
Masc. -ь
Fem. -а
Fem. -я
Fem.-ия
Fem. -ь
New ending





-ии
Example
Телеви́зор
Музе́й Коро́ль Маши́на
Земля́ Фами́лия
Ми́лость
Plural
Телеви́зоры Музе́и Короли́ Маши́ны Зе́мли Фами́лии
Ми́лости

 


Neut. о
Neut. е
Neut. -ие
Neut. -я
New ending


-ия
-ена
Example
О́зеро
Пла́тье
Мне́ние
Вре́мя
Plural
Озёра
Пла́тья
Мне́ния
Времена́

    There are a few exceptions for masculine nouns ending in a consonant; rather than ending in ы, they take a stressed a. There is no real way of predicting them, so the easiest way to memorize them, in my opinion, is to say the singular and plural forms out loud; you'll remember the different forms as you remember the pronunciation of the word. Be careful, however, not to confuse them with the gentive-singular forms, which often look exactly the same.

Examples:
Мост -Bridge - Мосты́ - Bridges
Го́род -City - Города́ - Cities

In addition, there are a number of words that end in -нин; these decline regularly except in the nominative plural, where it becomes -не, and in the genintive plural, where it becomes -н


13. The Accusative Case (Вини́тельный Паде́ж)

    The Accusative is used to indicate the direct object of a sentence or phrase, that is the noun on which the action was performed. Simple as this may sound, this case is complicated by the fact that it is, in effect, five cases; masculine nouns are the same as the nominative form, unless they are animate, in which case t takes the noun takes the genitive case endings; neuter nouns are always the same as the nominative; and feminine nouns ending in -а or -я become -у and -ю, while those ending in -ь  stay the same, all regardless of animacy, while in the plural, they are like the nominative plural, unless it is animate, in which case it takes the genitive.

Forming the singular:

Masc. (consonant) Masc -й Masc. -ь Fem. -а Fem. -я Fem.-ия Fem. -ь
New ending
--
--



-ию
Example
Телеви́зор Музе́й Коро́ль* Маши́на Земля́ Фами́лия Ми́лость

Телеви́зор Музе́й Короля́ Маши́ну Зе́млю Фами́лию Ми́лость

*animate, thus the endings are genitive


Neut. о Neut. е Neut. -ие Neut. -я
New ending


-ие
Example
О́зеро Пла́тье Мне́ние Вре́мя

О́зеро Пла́тье Мне́ние Вре́мя



Forming the plural:

Masc. (consonant) Masc -й Masc. -ь Fem. -а Fem. -я Fem.-ия Fem. -ь
New ending


-ей


-ии
Example
Телеви́зор Музе́й Коро́ль* Маши́на Земля́ Фами́лия Ми́лость

Телеви́зоры Музе́и Короле́й Маши́ны Зе́мли Фами́лии Ми́лости

*animate, thus the endings are genitive


Neut. о Neut. е Neut. -ие Neut. -я
New ending


-ия
-ена
Example
О́зеро Пла́тье Мне́ние Вре́мя

Озёра Пла́тья Мне́ния Времена́

 



14. The Dative Case (Да́тельный Паде́ж)

    The Dative is used to mark the indirect object in the sentence or phrase, that is, the recipient or "benefactor" of the action. It can also represent the opinion statements "to me..." or "for me..." Forming the Dative in Russian is very easy; Masculine and neuter nouns take -у or -ю as the ending, depending on whether or not it is hard or soft, and Feminine nouns take -е regardless. There is a caveat here: if the (feminine) word ends in -ь, it takes -и in the dative, and if it ends in -ия, it takes -ии. The plural is even easier: all nouns take -ам or -ям, depending on a hard or soft ending .


Forming the singular:

Masc. (consonant) Masc -й Masc. -ь Fem. -а Fem. -я Fem.-ия Fem. -ь
New ending





-ии
Example
Телеви́зор Музе́й Коро́ль Маши́на Земля́ Фами́лия Ми́лость

Телеви́зору Музе́ю Королю́ Маши́не Земле́ Фами́лии Ми́лости

 


Neut. о Neut. е Neut. -ие Neut -я
New ending


-ию
-ени
Example
О́зеро Пла́тье Мне́ние Вре́мя

О́зеру Пла́тью Мне́нию Вре́мени



Forming the plural:

Masc. (consonant) Masc -й Masc. -ь Fem. -а Fem. -я Fem.-ия Fem. -ь
New ending
-ам
-ям
-ям
-ам
-ям
-иям
-ям
Example
Телеви́зор Музе́й Коро́ль Маши́на Земля́ Фами́лия Ми́лость

Телеви́зорам Музе́ям Короля́м Маши́нам Зе́млям Фами́лиям Ми́лостям



Neut. о Neut. е Neut. -ие Neut. -я
New ending
-ам
-ям
-ям
-енам
Example
О́зеро Пла́тье Мне́ние Вре́мя

Озёрам Пла́тьям Мне́ниям Времена́м

15. The Genitive Case (Роди́тельный Паде́ж)
   
    The Genitive is perhaps the most versatile of all of the cases in Russian; it shows ownership or possession (комната моей сестры -- my sister's room,) construction involving "of" (фотогра́фия но́вого до́ма -- A photo of the new house,) amounts of things (много людей -- many people,) in conjunction with numbers (пять братьев -- five brothers,) and more. It's formation in the singular is highly regular; masculine and neuter nouns take -а or -я depending on whether it is hard or soft; feminine nouns take the letter -ы or- и, again depending on whether it's hard o soft.
   
    The genitive plural, however, is probably the most difficult aspect of noun declension; there are even jokes about it in Russian. Masculine nouns ending in consonants take -ов and those ending in й take -ев or -ёв, but masculine nouns ending in -ь, -ш, -щ, -ж, and -ч, all take the ending -ей. Feminine and neuter nouns ending in -а and -о lose that letter, -я and -е take- ь, and feminine and neuter nouns ending in-ия and -ие both take the -ий. Finally, feminine nouns ending in -ь, as well as neuter and feminine nouns with -ь just prior to the final vowel mostly take the ending ей.


Forming the singular:

Masc. (consonant) Masc -й Masc. -ь Fem. -а Fem. -я Fem.-ия Fem. -ь
New ending





-ии
Example
Телеви́зор Музе́й Коро́ль Маши́на Земля́ Фами́лия Ми́лость

Телеви́зора Музе́я Короля́ Маши́ны Земли́ Фами́лии Ми́лости

 


Neut. о Neut. е Neut. -ие Neut. -я
New ending


-ия
-ени
Example
О́зеро Пла́тье Мне́ние Вре́мя

О́зера Пла́тья Мне́ния Вре́мени

 

Forming the plural:


Masc. (consonant) Masc -й Masc. -ь Fem. -а Fem. -я Fem.-ия Fem. -ь
New ending
-ов
-ев
-ей
--
--ь
-ий
-ей
Example
Телеви́зор Музе́й Коро́ль Маши́на Земля́ Фами́лия Ми́лость

Телеви́зоров Музе́ев Короле́й Маши́н
Земе́ль Фами́лий Ми́лостей

 


Neut. о Neut. -ие Neut. -я
New ending
--
-ий
-ён
Example
О́зеро Мне́ние Вре́мя

Озёр Мне́ний Времён



16. The Prepositional Case (Предло́жный Паде́ж)

    This is probably the easiest case to learn other than the nominative. It is used purely with prepositions; it is never used on its own, hence its name. The prepositions are в (in/at) на (on/at/in) о (about) при (near/next to/in the time of/on one's person). To form it, masculine neuter and feminine nouns take -e in the singular, unless it is feminine and ends in -ь, in which case it becomes -и, or -ие or -ия, which become -ии. The plural is -ах or -ях depending on the stem.

Forming the singular:

Masc. (consonant) Masc -й Masc. -ь Fem. -а Fem. -я Fem.-ия Fem. -ь
New ending





-ии
Example
Телеви́зор Музе́й Коро́ль Маши́на Земля́ Фами́лия Ми́лость

Телеви́зоре Музе́е Короле́ Маши́не Земле́ Фами́лии Ми́лости

 


Neut. о Neut. е Neut. -ие Neut. -я
Еnding


-ии
-ени
Example
О́зеро Пла́тье Мне́ние Вре́мя

О́зере Пла́тье Мне́нии Вре́мени

 

Forming the plural:


Masc. (consonant) Masc -й Masc. -ь Fem. -а Fem. -я Fem.-ия Fem. -ь
New ending
-ах
-ях
-ях
-ах
-ях
-иях
-ях
Example
Телеви́зор Музе́й Коро́ль Маши́на Земля́ Фами́лия Ми́лость

Телеви́зорах Музе́ях Короля́х Маши́нах Зе́млях Фами́лиях Ми́лостях

 


Neut. о Neut. е Neut. -ие Neut. -я
Еnding
-ах
-ях
-иях
-енах
Example
О́зеро Пла́тье Мне́ние Вре́мя

Озёрах Пла́тьях Мне́ниях Времена́х

    There is an exception here; in the singular masculine, there are a number of nouns that take a stressed -у or -ю, but this is ONLY when used with the prepositions в or на; if you use o or при, you use the regular prepositional ending.

Examples:
Лес -- Forest - в Леcу́ - In the Forest,  при Ле́се - Near the Forest
Бал -- Ball - на Балу́ - At the Ball, о Ба́ле - About the Ball


17. The Instrumental Case (Твори́тельный Паде́ж)


    This is the final case you need to learn. It is used to indicate how an action is carried out, roughly the same as the English "by" or "with," the German "per," or the French "par." It is also used following the verb быть (to be,) or following certain verbs where it acts as the word "as," like рабо́тать официанткой, "to work as a waitress," as well as in the sense of "by" in the passive voice, discussed later. It is also used in time references like ве́чером (in the evening) or о́сенью (in the autumn). The formation is rather straightforward: masculine and neuter nouns take -ом or -ем depending on the ending; feminine nouns ending in -а and -я take the ending -ой or -ей, while those ending in -ия  take the ending -ией. The main exception is feminine nouns ending in -ь, which take the ending -ью. The plural is even easier to form: simply add -ами or -ями depending on the original ending.
 

Forming the singular:

Masc. (consonant) Masc -й Masc. -ь Fem. -а Fem. -я Fem.-ия Fem. -ь
New ending
-ом
-ем
-ем
-ой
-ей
-ией
-ью
Example
Телеви́зор Музе́й Коро́ль Маши́на Земля́ Фами́лия Ми́лость

Телеви́зором Музе́ем Королём Маши́ной Землёй Фами́лией Ми́лостью

 


Neut. о Neut. е Neut. -ие Neut. -я
Еnding
-ом
-ем
-ием
-енем
Example
О́зеро Пла́тье Мне́ние Вре́мя

О́зером Пла́тьем Мне́нием Вре́менем

 

Forming the plural:


Masc. (consonant) Masc -й Masc. -ь Fem. -а Fem. -я Fem.-ия Fem. -ь
Еnding
-ами
-ями
-ями
-ами
-ями
-иями
-ями
Example
Телеви́зор Музе́й Коро́ль Маши́на Земля́ Фами́лия Ми́лость

Телеви́зорами Музе́ями Короля́ми Маши́нами Зе́млями Фами́лиями Ми́лостями

 


Neut. о Neut. е Neut. -ие Neut. -я
Еnding
-ами
-ями
-иями
-енами
Example
О́зеро Пла́тье Мне́ние Вре́мя

Озёрами Пла́тьями Мне́ниями Времена́ми

18. Summary of Regular Noun Case Endings


Мужско́й Же́нский Сре́дний
N
--

-ия
-ии






-ие
-ия
A
-n/g
-n/g
-n/g
-n/g
-n/g
-n/g

-n/g

-n/g
-ию
-n/g

-n/g




-ие
-ия
D
-ам -ям -ям -ам
-ям -ии
-иям
-ям
-ам

-ям
-ию
-иям
G
-ов -ев -ей --

-ии
-ий

-ей

--


-ии
-ий
P
-ах -ях -ях -ах
-ях
-ии
-иях

-ях

-ах

-ях
-ии
-иях
I
-ом -ами -ем -ями -ем -ями -ой -ами -ей
-ями
-ией
-иями
-ью
-ями
-ом
-ами
-ем
-ями
-ием
-иями


19. Adjectives

    Adjectives must agree with the nouns that they modify in gender, number and case. Adjective endings are distinctive for each case. One more thing: although written as ого, the genitive endings are pronounced as though they were written ово. However, this is only for endings associated with the genitive case. Also, some masculine-nominative nouns have -ой instead of ый as its ending. This does not change the declension patterns, however.


Hard Stem Adjective (Чёрный - Black/dark)
Case
Masc.
Fem.
Neut.
Pl.
Nominative
Чёрный
Чёрная Чёрное Чёрные
Accusative
Чёрный/ого Чёрную Чёрное Чёрные/ых
Dative
Чёрному Чёрной Чёрному Чёрным
Genitive
Чёрного Чёрной Чёрного Чёрных
Prepositional
Чёрном Чёрной Чёрном Чёрных
Instrumental
Чёрным Чёрной Чёрным Чёрными

 

Soft Stem Adjective (Средний - Medium/middle)
Case
Masc. Fem. Neut. Pl.
Nominative Сре́дний Сре́дняя Сре́днее Сре́дние
Accusative Сре́дний/его Сре́днюю Сре́днее Сре́дние/их
Dative Сре́днему Сре́дней Сре́днему Сре́дним
Genitive Сре́днего Сре́дней Сре́днего Сре́дних
Prepositional Сре́днем Сре́дней Сре́днем Сре́дних
Instrumental Сре́дним Сре́дней Сре́дним Сре́дними


You should know that a number of adjectives, such as учёный (scientist) or рабо́чий (worker) and decline like adjectives but are otherwise treated as nouns.


There are also four short form adjectives, used only in the nominative. They appear as follows:

Masculine
Feminine
Neuter
Plural
Чёрен
Чёрна
Чёрно
Чёрны


Their usage is discussed in section 35.


Go on to Russian II

 


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